Transition of power in Egypt must start now: White House

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 2 (PTI) The US today asked Egypt''sruling regime to start a transition of power immediately andcondemned the violence raging in Cairo where hundreds wereinjured in chaotic clashes today.

The transition of power in Egypt must begin now, theWhite House demanded today as the nearly 10-day pro-democracyprotest turned violent.

"We have said that throughout this process, obviously,if any of the violence is instigated by the government, itshould stop immediately," White House Press Secretary RobertGibbs told reporters at his daily news conference.

"A transition of power must start now... The people ofEgypt need to see change," he said in response to a question.

Responding to questions, Gibbs said "now" started"yesterday" when US President Barack Obama, called forimmediate beginning of an orderly transition in Egypt.

However, Gibbs did not demand "resignation" ofEgyptian President Hosni Mobarak, who has ruled the countryfor three decades now.

Observing that these are "very fluid and dynamicevents," in the region, Gibbs said Obama had a "direct,""frank" and "candid" talk with Mubarak yesterday.

At the same time, he insisted that the nature andscope of change would be determined by the people of Egypt andnot by the White House.

"We are watching, as people are throughout the world,what is happening today. We continue to urge restraint. I dothink that the role that had been played by the military wasexceedingly important in what I think many people thoughtmight happen late last week," he said.

He said it is imperative that the violence stops andthe transition begins immediately.

White House Press Secretary said the President andthis administration strongly condemn the outrageous anddeplorable violence taking place on the streets of Cairo.

"We have said that throughout this process. Obviously,if any of the violence is instigated by the government, itshould stop immediately. That has been our message throughoutthis," he said.

State Department spokesman P J Crowley also expressedconcern over the violence earlier.

"After days of peaceful protests in Cairo and othercities in Egypt, today we see violent attacks on peacefuldemonstrators and journalists.

"The United States denounces these attacks and callson all engaged in demonstrations currently taking place inEgypt to do so peacefully," he said in a statement.

He said these attacks were not only dangerous toEgypt, they were a direct threat to the aspirations of theEgyptian people.

"The use of violence to intimidate the Egyptian peoplemust stop. We strongly call for restraint," Crowley said.

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